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It Happened to Me Life Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

A Bad Experience at Wasabi

 Wasabi Restaurant, 1730 Bloor Street West. The Verdict: Decent food, scatterbrained "service"

All I wanted was my dinner. After an early morning flight back to Accordion City from Calgary and enough work to keep me from getting a decent lunch, I was looking forward to a nice dinner with The Missus at Wasabi (1730 Bloor Street West, at Keele), the all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant that had opened a few blocks away from our home.

Wasabi’s menu is not unlike those at other local all-you-can-eat sushi places like Aji Sai. It comprises a selection of sushi, sashimi, tempura, donburi and other things that can be made quickly and cheaply and can provide a lot of bang for your twenty bucks.

It’s the busiest restaurant that’s ever opened at that corner. When we walked in on Friday night, we saw a full restaurant bustling with all sorts of people: groups of young friends having dinner before a night out, many young families with strollers in tow, solo diners who brought some reading material with them, couples out for an end-of-week meal and so on. At first glance, the place appeared to be the next neighbourhood hit.

It took a little while for someone to take our order. We chalked it up to the place’s newness; it often takes a restaurant a little while to work the kinks out of its system during its “shakedown phase” and get a sense of how busy they’ll be. They appeared understaffed, and the the staff they had clearly weren’t used to working in a busy restaurant.

The orders we did manage to get were, for the most part, decent. The seafood tempura was done right, the dynamite roll was tasty and the edamame was well, edamame. After that, no food came to our table for a good while.

After asking around, we discovered that our order had been sent to the wrong table. We were still willing to forgive this mistake and place another order, and the waitress apologized and told us she’d be right back with a notepad. Hey, it’s an all-you-can-eat place, and most of the stuff was the kind that other places can make quickly.

She never came back. A good quarter-hour, complete with a lot of waves to the waitress, has passed without any service. It was clearly time for plan B.

“Enough already. Pizza slice?” I asked Wendy, gesturing to the Pizza Pizza across the street.

“Sure."

We walked up to the front, told the staff that our order had been served to the wrong table and no one had attempted to correct the mistake. Another customer who was standing at the counter said “Yeah, they screwed up my order, too.”

We also told them that we weren’t paying, and walked out. They gave no reply other than confused looks, tilted heads and stunned silence – not even an “I’m sorry". This sort of reaction is the hallmark of complete incompetence and the front-of-house staff treat the place as many similar people do: the restaurant’s just a place that provides a paycheque in exchange for you just showing up.

As we walked towards the pizza place, we ran into our neighbours Chris and Wanda, who were heading to Wasabi to try them out, and warned them away from the place. Consider this blog entry the same warning to the rest of the world: Wasabi is run by scatterbrains, and if you’d actually like some service, go elsewhere.

14 replies on “A Bad Experience at Wasabi”

Thanks for saving me a trip! My friend and I were thinking of going to this place. But generally I avoid new places until I hear a bit about them.

So far, I haven’t heard anything good about this place. Looks like if they don’t get their act in order, they’ll be going out of business very soon 🙁

Hello,
We went to Wasabi the other night for my wife’s birthday. There were 16 of us including 3 babies. The food was great and the service was good. I would definitely recommend this place.

Don’t forget they still don’t have a liquor license – I went in and left as a result (hey! I enjoy a beer with my sushi). We waited and waited for them to open up, but it took months and I was shocked to see that there is also a 1.5 hour limit on their ‘all you can eat’ … wonder if that plays into the slow service. Hope they get their act together – we’re seriously lacking in sushi in the neighbourhood since Osaka burnt down 🙁 I was going to place a delivery order this evening to feed my craving – but they don’t seem to be to quick at answering the phone either.

Give the place a chance! You walked out without talking to a manager to explain what was going on. HOW are they supposed to improve with imput from customers?
For people who decide to give it a pass without trying it out for themselves!! You are mindless lemmings!

Clare: You might want to re-read the article: we did explain to a manager what was going on before leaving.

As for the people deciding to give it a pass without trying it themselves, they’re following the sage counsel of a righteous dude and trusted blogger who’s been at it for over 8 years.

Gotta say, we order take out from them all the time and it is the best. They have the most tender delicious beef teriyaki and the Take bento box that I get comes with everything- dumplings, tempura, teriyaki, sushi, sashimi, soup, salad…
We’ve only done eat in once and it was at lunch hour, but the service was fine. Our waitress was pleasant and the food came quickly and was hot and delicious.
I would recommend them in a second, especially for takeout.

My girlfriend and I tried the restaurant on Feb 19, 2010. All that needs to be said about this place is, “terrible service” and “this is not sushi”. Granted, it was a Friday evening and it was busy, but waiting close to 25 minutes after being seated for service is just wrong. The place was primarily packed with the younger crowd, (20 something-ers and even younger kids). The sushi was horrible. The fish was far from fresh and served with too much rice (one of the oldest AYCE sushi tricks – fill up the customer with rice). Save yourself the headache and go to Nami, Japango or Oisi Oyster Japanese Restaurant.

I have been there twice, once with just my wife, and another time with my wife and her family. I was a little hesitant about the place, especially with a hard-to-please-restaurateur-mother-in-law, but we had a great time in both instances. Is it the best sushi I ever had? No, but it is not the worst. It was actually on the better scale in terms of AYCE sushi. Is it the best AYCE sushi place in the GTA? No, that would be Ten-Ichi, but Ten-Ichi is in Scarborough, and Wasabi is in my neighbourhood, so I will definitely be coming back. I am saying that this blog is without its merit, no, restaurant has its bad days, and I am sorry that you had to experience that. I am just trying to give a flip side to this review. I offend find people don’t go out of their way to write about good experience, but will easily compose about the bad ones.

Take out is great from there.

Anyone expecting fantastic sushi from an AYCE menu is crazy. If you expect the $10 maki roll that you order individually to be the same as the one you get with 5 other rolls for $18, you’re living in a dream world.

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